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Paul Ryan returns to the Hill for budget vote

September 13, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) addresses supporters during a rally in Owensville, Ohio. But he's headed back to Washington for a vote on spending.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) addresses supporters during a rally in Owensville,… (Tom Uhlman / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- Republican Rep. Paul Ryan is headed back to Capitol Hill for the first time since becoming Mitt Romney's running mate -- to vote for a federal spending bill that does not employ his preferred way of budgeting.

The GOP vice presidential nominee arrived Thursday in Washington as the House Democratic campaign chairman told reporters the Wisconsin congressman's ascent has been a "disaster" for GOP congressional campaigns. 

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is the architect of his party's austerity budget -- a blueprint for slashing federal spending and turning the Medicare health program for seniors into a voucher-like system. His budget aims to reduce the nation's debt load by growing the economy with tax cuts and balancing the budget in coming years.

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Thursday's stop-gap budget measure would fund the government for six months from the start of the fiscal year Oct.1, but it is set at higher spending levels than Ryan prescribes. The short-term measure was the result of an agreement reached between Congress and the White House.

Even though many rank-and-file Republicans still want steeper budget cuts, the GOP is not expected to threaten a government shutdown to achieve that goal, as happened earlier this Congress.

Cooler political heads are expected to prevail with the vote coming so close to the election.

The Senate is expected to approve the bill before the month-end deadline.

Republicans are also expected to pass House legislation to prevent cuts to the Pentagon they had agreed to last year, but now are trying to stop.

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But the White House has promised to veto that approach from the GOP, which would shift the Defense cuts to domestic programs -- slashing food stamps, school lunches.

Ryan has been campaigning, fundraising and preparing for the upcoming vice presidential debate, making a West Coast swing earlier in the week before attending a town hall in Wisconsin and a rally in Ohio on Wednesday.

Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Thursday that Ryan's candidacy was posing a drag on GOP House races.

Republicans are trying to maintain their majority this fall, while Democrats hope to pick up the 25 seats needed to wrest control of the chamber.

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